Planning fees are now due to increase by 20% in early 2018 as local planning authorities take advantage of new legislation which will allow them to charge additional fees for all types of applications.
Planning fees were set to increase by 20% from July 2017, so some farmers did get the opportunity to submit planning applications before the increase came in.
The fee increase, when it happens, will be an issue for many farmers, who already pay considerable charges. Local authorities have pushed for the increase as it should allow them to apply more staff. This would be a welcome move if it helps reduce the amount of time farm planning applications take to be processed. Many farmers have been reporting three to six months rather than 8 weeks for their applications to be determined.
Fees for agricultural buildings are based on the floor space and currently range from £80 to £250,000. It is an issue for many farmers, who can pay thousands for agents to put together applications, with local planning authority charges on top.
While the NFU cannot stop the government bringing in the fee increase, we will be lobbying further on this issue as excessive fees will put members off from applying for permissions. Simpler planning rules benefit farmers and reduce local authority workloads so they don’t need to charge more.
“Planning barriers put people off investment,” former CLA President Ross Murray said,
Four-fifths of landowners want to invest more in rural development, but poor understanding of rural needs among planning departments is a real concern, according to the CLA.
“Too often planning is a triumph of process over outcome,” Mr Murray said.